I know this probably seems like a very silly question, like who doesn’t want their gear back when they lose it or misplace it? I know I would, and I am sure everyone would want the same but still the question persists.
I’ll tell you a few quick stories, and the last one will really kick you in the butt with the reason why I ask this. Perhaps you can relate to one of these:
I had a dive tracker that my dive buddy ended up with and it dropped overboard. He was not able to retrieve it, and I was not aware of any of this. Then one day I get a call from a commercial diver who said he found it and guess what? It had been in the ocean for about 12 months and it still worked. How did the commercial diver know who to contact? Easy – I had my name and telephone number engraved on the dive tracker.
My buddy and I were on a 2 day dive trip and he found a very nice Scubapro speargun. Upon checking, it was not from anyone on the trip we were on, and there was nothing marking it as to who it belonged to so guess what…I’ve have had a very nice Scubapro spear gun for at least the last 15 years.
I lost a nice mesh bag while on a club beach dive. Three months later, our club was at the same beach and I heard one of the members say that they found a mesh bag. I asked if it had a certain marking on it, and it did because it was my bag. I got it back.
This is the kick yourself in the butt story. Now that I run dive trips for my business (Channel Islands Dive Adventures) I usually take home any personal items that are left on the boat. On a trip I had to West Santa Cruz on Sept. 6th, there was a BC (nice one) left behind so I brought it home and rinsed it, then proceeded to look for some identifying mark or name. I found nothing. This BC also had a small knife and wrench in one of the pockets. I emailed everyone I could think of, and mentioned it to the boat owner just in case they got a call. It is now going on 2 months and no one seems to have noticed their BC is missing.
So now I ask the original question again – when you lose or misplace your dive gear, do you want it back? If you do, then what do the four stories have in common, which is not really all that common? You guessed it – the lost items had no way to identify the owner. The commercial diver (from Story 1) told me he finds stuff all the time, but how is he going to find the owner when there is no name, or just a first name on it?
So now you know the secret.
You more than likely heard already that you will lose dive gear, and if you haven’t yet your turn is coming up! I recently lost two knives and probably won’t get them back, but they do have my name and number on them just in case. I also just recently had a 2 day trip and 2 wetsuits had been left behind. Had they had a name and number marked inside I would have called the owners immediately, helping them to avoid a trip back to the boat or some extra shipping charges.
What is the best way to mark stuff permanently?
I engrave everything I can, and then wipe it with a yellow paint marker. If I can’t do that, than it gets done with a yellow or black marker, or even labels with the info on it. Using a label maker is handy for camera gear. I even have engraved the hard plastic skirt around my mask, knife holders, regulators and BC back plate plus everything else I own. It doesn’t have to be large just noticeable enough to someone looking for the owner and wanting to do the right thing!
If you dive for very long, you’re going to lose gear – it’s a fact. Identify your gear, and there’s a good chance that if it’s found, you’ll get it back!
Written by Ken Kollwitz
Ken is the owner of Channel Island Dive Adventures. Channel Islands Dive Adventures organizes and plans scuba trips (mainly charters) on various dive boats with four main goals in mind; to offer trips to specific unique dive destinations, to promote diver safety, to offer reasonable priced trips, and above all, to have fun with other like minded divers.
Channel Islands Dive Adventures also organizes and plans warm or cold water dive trips, diving/camping trips, Catalina Island trips and more. Please check the Channel Islands Dive Adventures event calendar for the current trips that are planned.